My Roof Top Solar Panels

by schmidt on March 26, 2009 · 4 comments

in Power and Energy Conservation

2139 39th Ave Roof PanelsThat’s the view from the roof of 2139 39th Ave, my Sustainable Project out in the Sunset District.  And lest some of you start making cracks about how the Sunset is Foggy – there have been more than enough sunny days this last year to justify the installation of the 2.3 Kilowatt solar photovoltaic system you see here: we are generating over 1,100 watts right now at 9:27 AM, and by the afternoon we will be cranking out well over 2,000 watts.

One thing most folks do not understand about a solar system is how the light is transformed into electrical energy.  Well, the photons (light) hits those panels above (they are black to absorb more light) and they create a direct current.  Your house uses alternating current electricity to power your ipod and microwave, so that direct current (DC) has to be inverted into an alternating current (AC) using one of these things…


That’s an inverter in the garage that changes the DC into AC….like the band.  Except they are AC/DC because, well, oh never mind.

I received a $4,000 rebate check from PG&E for the panels, and if I ever get off my lazy ass and finish the paperwork I have another $3,000 due from the city and county of SF.   That plus the cost of the installation does not get added to your property tax basis around here, which is cool.  Plus the savings off energy – I still pay the taxes and such, but the electrical line on the bill is zero.  And I produce no carbon.

Win, win, win and win.


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 bernipoppen 03.29.09 at 8:50 am

Do you recommend a few solar companies ? It’s hard to tell who is better ? Is there an article, or rating of them ?
Favorite kitchen appliances ? My daughter and best friend are building homes in California.

Thanks so much.

2 schmidt 03.29.09 at 9:02 am

Give Craig Dinsdale a call at CC Energy. 415.531.9877. He is a decent guy who will give you a competitive price and good service.

3 Mike 03.29.09 at 11:16 am

What about storms?

Are you planning to keep them out and exposed the next time we have a big storm (the kind of storms that leaves tree branches in the middle of the road or fallen tree branches and derby down on top of parked cars) Or is there some kind of protection that you could put on top of the solar panels.

4 schmidt 03.29.09 at 2:05 pm

They pretty much live on the roof without any kind of protection. There are no trees nearby so in is really unlikely that a branch or other debri would fall on them, and they are well anchored to the roof – there is a rack that the panels are attached too, and we added some extra rafters in the ceiling to hold the bolts. We also flashed all the bolts properly, and the roof is brand new. The panels do need to be washed a every 6 weeks or so, so you need to put a ladder up off the deck and go do that, but aside from that its not a big deal.

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